Weeks ago, Reed mentioned that it would be cool if we could figure out how to veganize ricotta pie, an Italian dessert Reed remembers really fondly from their adolescent years. I said we could probably try it, though I was hesitant because the tofu ricotta recipe we use is pretty decidedly savory.
Then we discovered Three Girls Vegan Creamery and their almond ricotta, and I became determined to veganize this pie. (Reed also said they thought this ricotta would work amazingly well, so I thought it was safe to agree.)
So, I went to work. First I found a recipe on Through Her Looking Glass that didn’t seem like it would be overly complicated to veganize. Then, I ordered almond ricotta from Three Girls Vegan Creamery and then, the day that we celebrated Valentine’s Day (and the one year anniversary of our engagement!), I made the pie.
It was a much heftier endeavor than I initially expected. But it seemed like it was going to turn out well!
The batter was great, the crust was crumbly, and everything smelled amazing. But once the pie had cooled and I served a slice for Reed and I to share, we realized that the garlic in the ricotta had decided to make itself known while the pie was baking. It was simultaneously really garlicky and really sweet, which was terrible.
No one wants to eat sweet garlic pie. No one.
I was so bummed. I’d prepped for so long and tried so hard! But after a super sweet email exchange with the girls at Three Girls Vegan Creamery, they were kind enough to send me some garlic-free almond ricotta so that I could try again.
The second time worked out beautifully. I live-streamed the experience with some photos and videos on Instagram, eager for this attempt to be a success, and I promised I would post the recipe if it was!
So, here we are! It’s recipe time! YES!
I haven’t been this proud of a veganization project in a long, long while. Getting Reed’s stamp of approval when we tasted this second pie on Sunday night felt amazing.
Now I’m passing it along, because it’s too good to keep to our home!
There are a few keys to making this pie taste good and have the right texture: extra care with the hand mixer, sweet flax eggs, and puréed tofu. You want your batter to be extra smooth and for your ingredients to marry as harmoniously as possible. Since this batter is very liquidy, it’s easy to assume that it’s mixed when it’s not!
Ricotta pie is very similar to cheesecake, but it’s much fluffier and creamier… It reminds me almost of a thick, filling mousse. I don’t know quite how to describe how delicious this pie is, but it is.
I highly recommend this recipe for any occasion, but keep in mind that it is time consuming! The mixing process for the batter and dough takes about 20 minutes, but then everything has to chill before baking (twice) and then the pie has to cool completely before being chilled again.
I opted to use days off for both attempts at making this pie, simply so that I would have enough time to get everything right and then enjoy a slice following dinner! Give yourself at least a full afternoon to work through this recipe. It’ll be worth the time, I promise.
Vegan Italian Ricotta Pie
Prep Time: ~20 minutes | Cook Time: 75 minutes | Total Time: 1 hr, 35 minutes
Makes two pies; serves 8-16 depending on slice size*
*Can easily be halved for just 1 pie!
What you’ll need:
- 2 cups all purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup + 1 1/2 tsp Earth Balance (coconut oil is also an option! If you try this, let me know how it turns out!)
- 2 flax eggs (1 tbsp. ground flax meal to 2.5 tbsp water per egg)
- 1 heaping tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 lbs. Three Girls Vegan Creamery plain almond ricotta
- 6 flax eggs
- 1 1/4 cup sugar
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1 cup puréed tofu
- 1 cup almond milk
- 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp. lemon zest
- Coconut whipped cream, lemon zest, candied lemons, cinnamon sugar (all optional!)
What you’ll do:
- In medium mixing bowl, combine flour, baking powder and sugar.
- Cut in Earth Balance (or coconut oil) with a pastry blender until chunks resemble coarse crumbs.
- Mix in flax eggs and vanilla extract until just incorporated.
- Divide the dough in half, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
- In medium mixing bowl, use a hand mixer to combine almond ricotta and flax eggs until smoothe.
- Mix in sugar, vanilla, puréed tofu, almond milk, cinnamon and lemon zest. Mix until thick and smooth, with no big chunks.
- Refrigerate for at least thirty minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 325°.
- Roll out dough to fit two lightly greased or nonstick pie plates. Dough should be about 1/4″ thick to allow for expansion.
- Pour the almond ricotta filling evenly into both pie crusts.
- If your crust has edges (mine didn’t, because I’m terrible at crust), shield the edges of the crust all the way around with aluminum foil and place the pies in the oven. If they don’t have edges, you can skip the foiling.
- Bake for 30 minutes, then remove the foil and rotate the pies so they cook evenly.
- Bake for an additional 30-45 minutes until crust is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center of the pie comes out clean.
- Allow the pies to cool completely before placing them in the refrigerator.
- Chill for at least one hour (the longer, the better!).
- Slice and serve with optional toppings.